Take Your Prints to a Whole New Level with Spot UV

There’s a point when every marketer and designer asks themselves how they can make their business cards and flyers just that little bit different to everyone else’s out there. Well, it’s not that difficult or expensive to make a definitive change to your print output by utilizing spot UV print effects that are widely available today that were previously only available in boutique print shops.

Here is our guide to UV spot business cards and other products that can take your prints to the next level.


Original source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/13928145/Event-Programme

Spot UV

Spot UV is very flashy. And when we say “flashy” we literally mean that it’s a light-reflecting effect that dazzles the eyes when angled against a light source. The final product makes certain areas of your business card and other prints stand out with selective gloss covering, pinpointing logos and other features.­­

Spot UV Brings Your Name and Message into View

If you need to highlight your brand on a business card, your message on a flyer, or you just want to add some cool light effects to a print design then spot UV is the perfect finish. Chosen for its sharp designer style, it makes everything look more expensive and high-class.

What is the Spot UV Print Process?

Spot UV is a print finish that is added post offset printing or as part of a complete digital print process. Typically, business cards, postcards, and other prints are covered with UV gloss, matt, aqueous coating or some other protection after color printing. In the case of UV coating, a wet polyethylene compound (or similar compound) is applied to the stock and then instantly dried by ultraviolet (UV) light. This ensures that the color print surface is protected and the paper itself has some form of protection. It also makes the prints look good.

Spot UV utilizes this same process but does it selectively to the paper surface; modern print presses can be programmed to add UV coating to specific areas of the paper rather than flooding the entire paper surface with UV coating.


Original source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/4287411/17-Mile-Studios-Business-Cards

What this Means for Designers and Print Customers

This means that designers can make logos, design features, text, and headlines stand-out in a very physical sense. Spot UV creates a very high-contrast between the paper and coated areas so that a gloss texture applied to a logo makes that logo shine and reflect and takes the viewer’s attention straight to it.


How Do I Create a Spot UV File for Print?

Many print shops have different file expectations when it comes to prepping and pre-flighting spot UV print files. Most commonly, a 100% black and white file in bitmap format is included with a full-color print file when handing the project off to a printer. Some printers prefer AI, PDF, or InDesign files with the 100% black and white spot UV design included as a separate layer in a fully-layered project file (it should also be noted, that there is a limit on the spot UV stroke or font thickness. This is typically 0.25 pt but can differ depending on what print shop you go to.)

The example below shows all the spot UV files needed for a particular spot UV business card project that includes the color version and the black and white spot UV overlay file.


Full color file – 300 DPI File in CMYK Color Format



Overlay layer or file – 100% Black and White Bitmap file in CMYK Format



Detail of the finished spot UV design that used a combination of soft touch© coating and spot UV effects


Types of Spot UV Effects

Spot UV presents a myriad of different print effects. You can elevate colors, create patterns, target text, and create other finishes in the following ways:

On-Design Spot UV

When you create a spot UV file that exactly matches the position of a logo shape or piece of text, then this would be classed as an on-design spot UV. The spot gloss applied in this fashion deeply enhances reds, blacks, and other colors and draws attention to your text.


This design shows how the on-design spot UV targets a logo shape and enhances its color.

Original source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/16347049/Nacropolis-Branding

Off-Design Spot UV

An off-design spot UV is a print effect in which the designer creates subtle text, logos, shapes, silhouettes and other effects that don’t match, or only partly match with the color printed design area. They typically take the form of spot gloss on black effects and look super sharp and dramatic.


Spot UV can be applied to an area of blank or negative space to create a design within itself

Original source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/451727/Logo-Business-Cards

Texture Spot UV

You can create fantastic texture effects with spot UV. By adding a pattern, shape, swirl, or other feature, you are able to produce some wild, original, and unexpected print effects.


You can create amazing effects by adding spot UV texture to your negative design spaces.

Original source: https://www.behance.net/gallery/311274/Tinino-Lamborghini-Tower

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